Today, Marvel Comics officially released its catalog for Marvel NOW!, featuring new and returning titles in the post-Civil War II Marvel Universe starting in October. When we break the catalog down, there are sixty-two titles: twenty-nine of which are returning titles, and thirty-three are brand-new titles. Eighteen of these are team books while the other forty-four are solo titles. Out of forty-four solos, not a single queer character has a book.
After being mired in controversy over straightwashing a then-implied bisexual god, and then quickly performing a less-than-graceful heel turn and saying that it doesn’t want to put labels on two very obvious lesbian characters, Marvel told us to wait for more queer representation, saying “Wait and see!” Well, I’ve waited, and I’ve had enough of Marvel’s empty promises. There is no excuse in the year 2016 not to give a queer character a book, and when you’re giving Solo, Foolkiller, Slapstick, and Bullseye their own titles, it’s insulting to know publishing four more Angry White Dudes With Guns books is more important than putting a queer character front and center. It’s not like Marvel would have to look very hard for a character to give a solo to either.
Since her debut in 2011’s Vengeance miniseries, America Chavez has gained an immense fan following after her appearances in A-Force, Siege, The Ultimates, and most famously Young Avengers. She’s a dimension-traveling badass, so there’s a lot Marvel could do in an America Chavez book. The idea of exploring alternate realities is always an interesting one, and as a seasoned traveler, America offers a different perspective on the differences of other worlds, be they minor or major. Whatever threat she faces could either be omniversal or extremely personal as well.
At this point, it’s idiotic for Marvel to not have one single queer-led solo book, and there’s a very easy way to fix it. It would certainly make money, and since that’s all the House of Ideas seems to care about these days, it’s just foolish not to do it. Queer characters in fiction do not happen organically; they happen when the person making the ideas decides to actually step up to the plate and do it. Maybe there’s a chance Marvel’ll stop having to do damage control every time one of its writers or editors opens his or her mouth if this happens. It’s just an idea.